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Happy Adventure Time Korea:
My Flight

I have discontinued my use of HAT Korea because 2 blogs is just too much, and I only want a single place to write in about my life. I can barely keep up here; how can I expect myself to maintain 2 separate blogs? I admit, I was a bit too quick at the trigger and was just excited about my adventure, so I'm pulling the reigns back in and will figure out the best way to cover my adventure here while also talking about other things.

As a result, HAT Korea will be merged into 52 Weeks as a weekly installment every Friday. At first, I'm going to catch up on all of the stuff I haven't been filling you guys in on (how I got here, what was my first week like, what's my school like, etc.), and then it will morph into a weekly recap of how my week went, what I saw, and other news-y type items.

Welcome to HAT Korea.
Come have an adventure with me, won't you?

This buddy was a doozy, let me tell you... I was initially supposed to leave Nashville on Sunday, February 15th, but the South was hit with a pretty drastic ice storm that, while it would have been nothing to write home about in Michigan, it completely halted everything in my city. My flight was delayed for a full week, making my departure date the 21st. That's all fine and good, but that means I was arriving at 10pm the night before I was supposed to start work. There would be no downtime, no exploration, no testing my Korean abilities before I was flung into this new, intense experience.

While that wasn't ideal, I'm actually relieved that my flight was delayed because I hadn't received my visa from the Korean Consulate in Atlanta by the 15th. That would have been... difficult to explain. Like I said, the ice storm affected everything. Thankfully, I received my visa in time for my delayed flight, and all was fine in Stefers land.

My flight departed from Nashville (BNA) on the 22nd, and was delayed on the tarmac (of course) because of the ice. That made me late for my flight in New York (JFK, not LGA) that almost left without me. I was the last one to board, and the flight assistant damned near fell over from relief / surprise when she saw me running toward the gate. I boarded and prepped for the longest flight of my life in a matter of 5 minutes, and I even got a nasty look or two. Sorry, people. It's not like I was trying to delay your flight. Jerks.

I would like to take this moment to advise against wearing gigantic-ass snow boots on cramped international flights in order to save room in your luggage. It's just not worth it. I was so cramped the whole way, and I barely had enough room to take them off much less sleep on my 14-hour flight. These Asians know how to cram as many people into one place as possible. For real. And I, an overweight 5'11" Amazonian goddess, felt like an anchovy the whole way.

My layover in Japan was around an hour, so I just chilled at my gate and ate some food. Thankfully, the majority of everyone spoke English, and the signs were in English. I felt super dumb, though, because I was
thanking one of the workers there and said "감사합니다" (Korean for 'thank you'). She looked a bit puzzled, and then I just said, "Sorry. I'm dumb." After a slight, silent pause, I said "Sorry" again and shuffled away in shame. Not only am I a lingual idiot, but I'm also awkward in the most painful of ways.

For the most part, the trip was moderately painless, but the arrival... oh, the arrival. It was a hot mess. My flight arrived on time, but I got stuck behind hundreds of people trying to get in. I was also feeling incredibly insecure because 1) everything was in Korean and holycrapIdontknowanythingatallwhathaveIdone and 2) I have never felt more freakishly tall in my entire life. The stereotype is true, folks. I am at least a full head taller than everyone.

I went to immigration and passed through with ease (besides the whole waiting a whole hour to get through the line thing) and then went to get my bags. Only they weren't there. Where the Hell were my bags??? I searched all over the carousel and the surrounding area, but there was nothing. I was freaking out. What was I supposed to do? I was in a country that doesn't even carry anything close to my size in the clothing department. And I didn't have my suitcases.


After losing it for around 30 minutes, I noticed someone walking around with 2 bags that looked like mine. He brought them to customer service, and I inquired after them. Turns out he had taken them in error and returned them. Thank God.

My luggage in tow, I found my taxi driver, who had been waiting patiently for me to come out of gate 2. I'm surprised he hadn't left, because I was around an hour and a half later than I should have been. Thankfully, they hired a nice dude to come pick me up. Didn't know a lick of English, but nice. He drove me an hour or so from Incheon to Bundang, and I met with my director at my temporary residence for the next week: a small studio apartment a couple of blocks away from the school.

SIDE NOTE: Keep in mind that this was all at around midnight on Sunday night, 
the night before I'm supposed to start work. 

I don't really remember much else, because I laid down in my bed and slept like the dead for the next 7 hours. Oddly enough, I didn't really experience any of the regular jet lag, I think because I didn't sleep nearly for a full 24 hours. Honestly, I was amazed that I woke up in time to get to school the next morning. My body automatically adjusted, so that was nice.

So there we have it. I'm finally here. I'm not dead, and the Koreans haven't killed me yet for doing something terribly offensive while I'm here. I'll be writing more about my school, my accommodations, and various other items in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!



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